Beyond the Potting Sheds – Heligan Part 2

A few more minutes exploring the secret corners of the potting shed area and then we went off in search of the Italian Garden. We were surprised to find another old restored glasshouse and a cutting garden full of dahlias.

 

We were delighted to see a display of illustrations from “A Song for Will” illustrated by Martin Impney, who is a friend of our son Jamie. We have a lovely signed copy at home. Martin has a unique style of illustration that appeals equally to children and adults.

  

We left the working garden and wandered past interesting plantings to the Italian Garden, with its strong symmetry so different to the rest of Heligan.

 

From here we decided to make our way through the woodlands towards the tropical valley, a feature common to many Cornish coastal gardens. But our progress was stopped when we came across another gateway into a smaller walled garden enclosing another beautifully restored glasshouse. Enjoy the wonderful crafstmanship that goes into making these old glasshouses and restoring them by looking at the details in this little gallery. Click on first pic and then navigate with the arrows.

Within the walled garden box hedges acted as enclosures for beds of cut flowers, especially dahlias, in an amazing rich array of colours.

Leaving the walled cutflower garden, our most enjoyable diversion, we made our way down to the valley garden which we remembered contained completely different types of plants than elsewhere at Heligan. However to get there we had to wander through woodland with sharp contrasts of light and shade.

   

The valley is strikingly lush and full of strong foliage many plants with huge dramatic leaves. We took a circular route through the valley along gravel paths and boardwalks sometimes raised to make bridges over the stream.

We will take you through the tropical valley garden with another gallery. Click on the first picture and navigate with the arrows.

 

 

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A Week in Cornwall – Part 4 – Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan is one of the top garden attractions in the country as figures have shown. The gardens were discovered and unearthed by Tim Smitt when he explored the gardens which had been derelict since the end of World War I, when so many of the gardeners did not return. The gardens were totally overgrown, buildings derelict and glasshouses tumbling down, glass broken and wood rotting.

Smitt decided to resurrect them and opened the gardens to the public as a team of gardeners and archaeologists began work. They were called, romantically, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. We visited soon after it opened and really enjoyed its romantic atmosphere.

The restoration is now just about complete, so we looked forward to our return visit to see it in its new guise. We soon realised that we were in for a treat as soon as we entered the coffee shop for our usual boost of coffee and cakes before our wanderings. Old garden tools were beautifully framed and displayed on the walls and the building had a lovely old rustic feel about them.

 

As we left the cafe a fingerpost presented us with plenty of options. We were most interested in the productive walled garden with its glasshouses, coldframes, bothy and potting shed. So we made our way there passing interesting plantings along the way.

   

We entered the walled garden through a gateway and made our way towards apple arches forming a covered walkway, rich with fruit. Around all border edges fruit is trained to create living productive fences. Across the length of each garden patch vegetables, roots, beans and salads march in long strong rows as straight as can be.

    

The gardeners were busily strengthening the traditions laid down by their gardener predecessors. One gardener was spreading seaweed collected just hours before from the beach and driven back to the walled garden by tractor and trailer. Nearby potatoes were being harvested and boxed up in wooden trays in readiness for storage in dark sheds or cellars.

 

Flowers for cutting were blossoming in lines parallel to the veggies, zinnias, dahlias and antirrhinums.

 

Leaving the walled garden we moved into a smaller attached walled yard, where coldframes sat wide open for aeration.These sat happily alongside a collection of glasshouses. These glasshouses were the very ones we had seen years ago in a state of total dereliction. Now they stand proud and productive thanks to the skills of craftsmen utilising traditional craftsmanship and skills.

The walls were furnished with ancient trained fruit trees, apples, pears, peaches and plums.

    

Beyond the glasshouses the potting shed stood holding the memories of those gardeners lost in the first world war, terracotta pots filled each row of every rack where close by garden tools hung on whitewashed walls. We could feel a special atmosphere in this shed, full of the skills of gardeners past and present.

     

Leaving the potting shed we still had lots to see and plenty to explore. See my next post for Heligan Part 2, Beyond the Potting Shed.

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A Week in Cornwall – Part 3 -St Ives

When holidaying in Cornwall in the summer of 2018 we planned to visit St Ives as we had enjoyed it so much when we visited decades ago. We loved the seafront, quayside, the quaint streets full of art galleries some being working galleries and the garden and workshop of our best female sculptor of all time, Barbara Hepworth. And of course we mustn’t forget the wonderful Tate St Ives, a wonderful piece of architecture housing incredible artworks.

        

These photos were taken in a way to avoid the crowds. St Ives had become a busy crowded little seaside town and we were greatly disappointed. But at least the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and Garden did live up to our expectations and match our memories.

 

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A Week in Cornwall – The Eden Project – Part 2

I promised to return with this post from the Eden Project in Cornwall continuing just as we were about to enter the Mediterannean Zone. I have to admit I prefer this dome to the Tropical Zone, but I can’t explain why. It simply feels more comfortable.

The structure of the dome reflects the framework supporting these vines.

It was the plants that flowered so full of colour that made this dome so exciting.

  

Arid plantings contrasted strongly with the brighter Med plantings, and it is the structure and texture of the arid plants that made them so attractive.

         

I will finish this look at the Eden Project biomes with a couple of photos of some lively sculpture.

 

In a future Cornwall holiday post I will share our visit to the other Tim Smitt project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

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A week in Cornwall – Part 2 – The Eden Project

It had been years since we last visited the Eden Project, so we were excited to return when we holidayed in Cornwall in the Autumn of 2018. We knew that there would have been so much development in that time. When we did visit  again during our week’s holiday in Cornwall, the project had developed almost beyond belief. The first view of the domes from the top paths is always stunning and most inviting. The domes were the brainchild of founder Tim Smitt and designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw.

   

The walkway down to the main feature, the project’s domes, was early in its development when we last visited so we were amazed at how interesting it was on our return visit. Here is a taster of what we saw as we descended down to the domes.

      

The first dome is the rain forest zone, where plants that we see more often as house plants grow healthy and tall, flowering and fruiting as in the wild. Exploring the dome takes you right up to the top of the building which affords great views. Wandering back down gives us as much interest to enjoy as on the climb up. Exploring this dome is quite an experience!

After exploring the tropical dome we had a break for refreshments, coffee and cakes as usual and then moved along the corridor leading to the Mediterranean Zone. That is the subject of the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Week in Cornwall – Part 1 – Poppy’s Cottage Garden

We had a week in Cornwall September last year so here is a series all about our explorations ans wanderings.

Early on in our week away in Cornwall we set out to visit a little garden in the middle of the countryside, Poppy’s Cottage Garden. After a difficult year of weather the garden showed a little wear and tear, as did gardens everywhere.

Poppy had designed and created a garden that entices visitors to explore and wander, corners to look around, archways to pass through and seats to rest upon and absorb the atmosphere.

 

However strange seasons are and how muddled up plants must become they seem to not only survive but even produce flowers.

           

The garden, like most cottage styled patches was attractive to wildlife adding a further level of interest. Added movement, sounds and colours.

 

Every cottage garden needs a piece of sculpture or two, serious or humourous.

  

 

We enjoyed the plant combinations which are a strong feature of this little garden. The other planned garden visits were for much bigger gardens.

 

 

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A quick visit to Bodnant Gardens – mid-May

Instead of my usual series of posts where we visit the same garden every month of the year, we have decided to look at two gardens one large and one small. This is because it is impossible to find another good garden that is open all year and easy to get to.

For the big garden we have chosen the National Trust’s Bodnant Garden in North Wales which we shall look at over the seasons and for the small garden we have chosen Wildgoose Garden and Nursery closer to home here in Shropshire which we shall visit each month during its open season.

To start this series I am going to look back at a visit we made to Bodnant back in May 2018 to give an idea of its beauty.

A final day out on our Anglesey holiday was to visit the gardens at Bodnant just slightly inland from the North Wales coast. It is a garden we have visited and enjoyed many times before and at all times of the year. The one strength of the garden is that is has so many different faces to be discovered and enjoyed.

In recent years a rectangular border alongside a tall stone wall has changed completely becoming a hot border, full of flowers and foliage the colours of fire. On a sunny day they really light up.

   

Directly opposite and in complete contrast is a formal area of low trimmed hedges holding together borders of tulips.

  

The Winter Garden at Bodnant is one of the best in the UK, and although superb in its special season, the winter, it is still an interesting garden in the summer.

  

The narrow gravel paths take us into the shady areas beneath mature deciduous trees. Bluebells added a blue mist to the rich green grassed areas.

What many visits make the journey to Bodnant for are the bright clashing colours of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. We however are not great fans of these acid loving bloomers, but here are a few shots for those who do.

An area of Bodnant gardens we have rarely reached over the years because of my mobility problems is the deep steep-sided valley with tall trees towering over a beautiful sparkling stream which meanders along its length. After recent surgery I can now manage to get down to this magical dingle. The magical atmosphere is created by the huge trees that tower above visitors who wander the gravel paths along the valley running close to a clear mountain stream, and on the banks beautiful bog and water loving plants grow happily. Primulas, hostas, ferns and Skunk Cabbage add colour and texture to the scene.

   

No doubt it won’t be long before this great garden is featured in another of my greenbenchramblings posts as we usually wander around its Winter Garden early in the year.

Posted in colours, garden design, garden paths, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, light, light quality, National Trust, ornamental trees and shrubs, shrubs, The National Trust, trees, Wales, water garden, water in the garden, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment